Chili has to be one of the most comforting winter foods out there. It is also so versatile to all diets and lifestyles out there which is so…considerate. Oh sweet chilli, we thank you for thinking of all of our dietary choices and/or restrictions. Speaking of sweet chilli, that’s exactly what I have done here. Chili is versatile yes, but to me it still always tastes the same. Delicious yes, but a chilli is more often than not -just another chilli. I wanted to think outside the box and introduce a few fun flavours here.
To add a delicate taste to this meal, I grazed my pantry and my fridge and came up with this winner of a recipe. Do not let the lengthy looking list of ingredients leave you disheartened, most of it is chopped veggies and spices. To sweeten the beanerific batch, I added a chopped red apple and some coconut palm sugar. With sausage being my meat here I went back to my gourmet experiences where I remembered that many restaurants serve almost a candied sausage with inviting sugars from apples and/or honey or maple syrup. If you are vegetarian or vegan, swap out the meat for a can of (or 1.5 cups cooked from scratch) white beans. White beans are also an ingredient I often see featured with naturally sweet foods. See, versatility-that’s what I’m talking about!
To thicken this sweet pot of chilli, I added pumpkin puree. I did this mainly because I had some to use up before it went bad and I thought why not take a risk. I also wanted to take away from the traditional acidity of chilli. I think it was a risk well taken as the Sweet Sausage Chilli turned out hearty, comforting, and 100% delicious. See the * at the end of the recipe for ingredient substitutions.
Sweet Sausage Chili
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 celery sticks, chopped
- 5 sausages, sliced in 1 inch pieces (or 2 lbs ground meat of your choice or 1 can of white beans for a vegan recipe)
- 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
- 3 roma tomatoes, chopped
- 3 large mushrooms, chopped
- 1 red apple, chopped
- 1 Tbsp chilli powder
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp oregano
- Pinch of cayenne
- ½ cup pumpkin puree*
- 14.5 oz can tomato sauce
- 4 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cups of vegetable broth
- 1 heaping Tbsp coconut palm sugar**
- 14.5 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 14.5 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot and add the onion, garlic, and celery. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the pepper and sausage or meat of choice if using. Cook for another few minutes.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, mushrooms, apple, chilli powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne and stir all together. Cook for 2 more minutes.
- Add the pumpkin puree, tomato sauce and paste, vegetable broth, coconut palm sugar, and the beans.
- Bring the chilli to a boil and simmer on low for 35-40 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
*I used pumpkin puree because I had some to use up and wanted to add a different flavour and bring the chilli away from a super acidic dish, however you can try the same amount of tomato paste or even an unsweetened apple sauce would be nice. If you use apple sauce you may want to cut down on the amount of coconut sugar you use.
**You can use any all natural sweetener you desire. If you use stevia you will only need a little bit as it is much stronger than all other sweeteners.